Grades don’t determine your child’s worth
I recently chatted with a top chef in San Diego, who shared with me her arduous journey from daydreamer, to line cook, to executive chef for a top restaurant - despite the wishes of her traditional Indian family.
She spoke of how her interest in cooking was frowned upon - at times even forbidden. She shared her genuine desire to pursue a culinary career, and her moments of rebellion - teaching herself to cook behind closed doors from as early as 10 years old.
She struggled to convince her disapproving family - who favoured formal education above all else, making a future in cooking a nearly impossible endeavour. To honour her family, she obtained a university degree before finally taking that leap towards pursuing her dream.
Eventually, her passion prevailed and she worked her way towards achieving a career that she loves, and her heart-felt enthusiasm and unwavering skill exudes through her award-winning cuisine.
Academics are important and reading, writing, and arithmetic hold an important place in the curriculum. But there’s so much more that our children need to learn.
They need to be introduced to a wider variety of career choices at an earlier age. They need to know that it’s possible to make a living based on passion, and not just prestige. They need to learn critical thinking, and we need to foster those children who demonstrate entrepreneurial skills early on.
We need to give as much attention and praise to those children who win ribbons on sports day, or those who draw with artistic skill, as we do to those children who thrive at solving math equations.
I saw a letter posted on Facebook, written by a school principal in Singapore to the parents of their school. The letter was a reminder that amongst the students that are writing exams, “there is an artist who doesn’t understand math, there’s an entrepreneur who doesn’t care about history, there’s a musician whose chemistry marks won’t matter, and there’s a sports professional whose physical fitness is more important than physics.”
The letter goes on to say that “If your child does get good marks that’s great, but if he or she doesn’t, please don’t take away their self confidence and dignity. Tell them it’s ok, it’s just an exam, they’re cut out for much bigger things in life. Tell them no matter what they score, you love them and you will not judge them. Please do this, and when you do, watch your children conquer the world.”
Touching words that we as parents and teachers should all consider.
Don’t worry if your child doesn’t make the cut for the sports team, or doesn’t get an A on every exam in school, because their grades do not determine their worth. Encourage your children to work hard and do their best, and be supportive if they discover their passion early on, because you never know, they may end up making a living doing something they love - isn’t that a dream many of us adults are still striving to achieve?